From The Heart is a column specially for all those who aspire to express their experiences in writing. Today Rukmini Krishnan brings on this columns an excerpt from Tejas Vaidya who met Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s father.
A special thanks to Pinky Sharma who was instrumental in introducing Tejas to me and increasing the chain of interaction . This is the youth of today who help make the world a better place. People like Pinky and Tejas pave the way for a better world surely.
Tejas Vaidya, 23 years of age is a youth who loves to explore new facets of life and also treks his way into adventure.
Employed in a firm in the product marketing division, he also awaits the results of the Army Examination. He aspires to be an officer soldier in the Indian Army and began his dreams by meeting the indomitable parents of the brave and chivalrous Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who became a martyr in the terrorist attack at Taj in Mumbai.
Here is the excerpt.
I Found My Temple.
After being one of the few 250 from the vast lakhs, crossing every hurdle and surviving till the very last round of my Army selection process; Rejection was too severe to even be sad. Half-hearted good byes’ and fabricated smiles were a little obvious scene and a regular one too, at SOUTH SELECTION CENTER Bengaluru. However, I decided to keep my promise and visit ISRO Aakash layout,Yelahanka, Bengaluru two hours from main Bengaluru city railway station lies a simple address, a confusing path and a much less amicable bus service to reach. Every person leaving for his Pilgrimage, gets every good wish and luck possible but I was rather riddled with questions, “What if you don’t get the address, what if they don’t attend you well, what If you miss them? “. Yes, the aforementioned address was a humble abode, a blissful-should be made Heritage site,a point source of National Pride-Shaheed Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s parents house.
Being humanly positive, I dodged the asked questions, but even I was perplexed about what to tell them, talk to them, why am I even going there?. After lots of hitchhiking, I finally reached that sacred row house. Standing at the door, after the bell rang… I saw a stern face asking,
“Yes?” All I had to say was, “My name is Tejas.M.Vaidya, I am a student from Mumbai”, and that swift transition from stern to a pleasant smile on Mr. K. Unnikrishnan’s face was the cue, and all has got to be fine ahead. He knew why I had come, what for after-all his son has done such great deeds. Just a few clicks on YouTube and old paper clippings very elegantly explain you Mr. Unnikrishnan’s emotions. Going with the same notion, yet determined to meet my hero’s parents, as I cautiously entered that house and sitting on their couch, the first thing I saw was a chilled glass of a welcome juice and some snacks. Mr.Unnikrishnan was to hurry for work; he calmly sat down talked to me. He asked me all sorts of questions, about my family, my Army exam, my education and carefully paying attention to every word I said.
Reminiscing Major Sandeep
A bit betwixt, he reminisced his son and referred his instances, about his will to join the army, his simple being, humble attitude, love for stray dogs, and his manners. He said, “Sandeep is still with us, not in physical being but my sub-conscious is drenched with him.” He went a step ahead to even prove it: he couldn’t find his Mumbai-Railway time table and route guide for 3 months, but that day as per him, Major Shaheed in his sub conscious propelled him to search it again, saying may be this Mumbai boy may bring luck and he found it (Unbelievable or fabricated, seems so right?, isn’t’. )
I was fortunate to see every medal Major earned in his lifetime and so after; His photos, from childhood, all the poems, write-ups and eulogies sent to them from all over Bharat. My adrenaline peaked or catapulted when I first time in life saw an Ashoka Chakra. I’ll bluntly say, believe it or not… I did feel the presence of my Hero, Major Sahib in that house. That’s where I had one of the most honest of thoughts, “I FOUND MY TEMPLE.”.
The Interactive Lunch
After more and more friendly talks with uncle and aunty, I had the most royal lunch… excellent daal kadhi, two delicious vegetables, rice and more types of deals; all vegetables homespun!!!… Marring every news, highlight and false notion about Mr.Unnikrishnan, I saw a very humble proud father, a caring uncle. To my luck, he gave me a surprise in the end…. He proudly said, come I will give you something, his mother added that I am lucky and stroked my cheek and BAAAAMMMMM!!!!!There was Unni uncle, withdrawing a cover from an old kinetic 4 stroke bike, “This is his bike, he bought it from his owns money, I’ll drop you on this to the bus stop.” Such a big man dropped me off at the bus station, after which he went for his owns work.
As I was riding back to my room, I received a call from an unknown number, “Have your reached your room?, don’t astray, reach on time and in case you miss your bus to Mumbai, come stay with us, next time if you come for your army exam in Bengaluru come here, this is your house only.” That firm voice was Unni uncle, who had already stored my number I left in his visitor’s diary. We spoke last as I confirmed my safe arrival back home and he promised to visit my home when he visits Thane next.
For every defense aspirant, this is his true pilgrimage. I’ll go a step further and mention some other things, please do visit them, they feel proud and stronger every time. “Don’t come up, I will handle them”. Were his last words, “Life is for living not for regretting. Never bother another person in your life”, were Shaheed Major Unnikrishnan’s one of the first few words of wisdom. I wait for the day when people would begin to recognize Unni Uncle when he is on a crowded road. Only then can I feel justice has been given to such a great hero.
I found my temple and I have found my cause,
What about you? …..